In a compare and contrast essay, your goal is to take two or more concepts or items and discuss their similarities and differences. In order to complete a compare and contrast essay, you'll need to first select the two items or concepts that you'll write about. When selecting concepts or items to write about, be sure to pick topics that actually have similarities rather than those that are complete opposites.
After determining the two ideas or concepts you'll discuss in your compare and contrast essay, you should make a list of all of the things the two items or concepts have in common. List every common factor the items share, even if you'll not necessarily discuss them all in your document. Next, brainstorm all of the similarities between the two items and make an additional list.
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When completing the actual compare and contrast essay, you want to avoid simply writing one paragraph with all of the similarities and one paragraph with all of the differences. Rather, you should complete a cohesive essay in which some of the similarities and differences may be discussed in one paragraph. One method for doing this is to start the paragraph with a similarity and then discuss how they're different despite these similarities. For example, if you're comparing and contrasting cats and dogs, you might start a paragraph off by discussing the fact that they're both animals. Then, you can go on to say that, although they're both animals, cats are generally smaller in size and come in different colors and patterns.
In many cases, compare and contrast essays are completed in order to highlight the differences between two seemingly similar concepts or ideas. Therefore, you might start off the compare and contrast essay by discussing the similarities and then you can spend the remainder of the work discussing how the two ideas or concepts are actually different.
Regardless of how you choose to format the body, a compare and contrast essay will still need to have a solid introduction and conclusion. The introduction takes place in the first paragraph, in which your thesis is also introduced. The thesis generally asserts that the two ideas or concepts are similar yet quite different.
The conclusion should also consist of just one paragraph. This paragraph should revisit the thesis, though it should be completed in a different way than how it was completed in the introduction. Finally, you should "wrap up" the report with the final sentence or two.
Your goal when completing a compare and contrast essay isn't to persuade the reader to choose one of the concepts or items. Rather, you're simply presenting factual information regarding the similarities and differences regarding the items. In order to create an essay with a true impact, you should focus on the subtle differences that may not be as obvious to the reader. That way, you'll present an essay that will really get the reader to think about the topic in a new way.